There’s no doubt that Arnold Schwarzenegger is an incredible success story. The fact that he was an immigrant from Austria and pursued his dream of coming to America to become the worlds greatest bodybuilder, the highest paid actor, and eventually Governor of California is very inspiring.
Arnold has been a role model for my life in many ways and someone that I’ve always looked up to. I recently was given his latest book, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story for Christmas which motivated me to write this blog post about some of the secrets of success that I’ve learned from him. I will note that I’ve also read other books on Arnold, such as The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding and The Governator which have provided me a lot about his life story. I’m also fans of his films, especially Pumping Iron which has motivated me over the years for physical fitness.
I’m going to attach a video to this blog post of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 Rules For Success that he gave as a speech at his USC Commencement Address. I found it very inspiring and motivating to listen to at various stages of my life.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 Rules For Success
1) Trust Yourself
Whatever your dream or calling is, you need to trust yourself and pursue it. You can’t listen to the naysayers or follow the path of your parents or family members, but rather discover what your mission is and go after it. Arnold’s family wanted him to be a police officer like his father, or play a “normal” sport like soccer instead of pursuing bodybuilding, but he knew deep down inside that isn’t what he wanted. He had to go against what others wanted for him so that he could forge his own path of success.
“What is most important is that you have to dig deep down, dig deep down and ask yourselves, who do you want to be? Not what, but who.
And I’m talking about not what your parents and teachers want you to be, but you. I’m talking about figuring out for yourselves what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it may sound to other people.”
Arnold knew that he had a burning desire to leave Austria and move to America to become a bodybuilding champion. He showed up in America with no money and was taken under the wing of Joe Weider and took massive action towards his dream of becoming Mr. Olympia. Arnold’s decision was criticized by his family. In fact, his mom thought that Arnold was gay because he would have posters of bodybuilders on his wall in the bedroom. But, despite the criticism, he went after what he wanted.
I can somewhat relate to his story, as for me growing up my family always had a “family business”. I worked in the business growing up and my Dad wanted me to eventually take over the family business for him. While I would have made a good amount of money doing this, I knew deep down inside that this wasn’t my passion or calling and decided to quit and start my own business when I was 21 years old. I created a seminar and coaching business, which was totally foreign to my parents and I underwent some judgement for it, but I was passionate about it and it made me happy. Once I eventually became successful at it, I eventually won their support.
What would my life been like if I continued working in the family business? Who knows. I can say that I’m so grateful and happy that I decided to quit and pursue my own path, otherwise I wouldn’t have the life I have today and definitely wouldn’t be writing this blog post to you.
Trust yourself no matter what anyone else thinks.
2) Break The Rules
You have to be willing to step outside of the box and try something different. For Arnold, he had to go against the norm in the movie industry as he didn’t fit the criteria of a movie star. All of the agents turned him down at first saying that his body was overly sized, he had an accent that nobody could understand, and his last name was nearly impossible to pronounce. But that didn’t stop him, and eventually those liabilities turned out to be assets for him and have made him famous for who he is today. Sure enough, Arnold became the highest paid actor in Hollywood and is world famous because of the fact that was different from others.
“It is impossible to be a maverick or a true original if you’re too well behaved and don’t want to break the rules. You have to think outside the box. That’s what I believe. After all, what is the point of being on this earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble?”
I can relate to this rule as in order to be successful as a coach, leader, or blogger – you can’t be doing the same as everyone else. I believe you need to be different in some way, and I attempt to do that with my videos and the way I do things. Some people have criticized me for being a certain way or using certain language in my videos, but for me, I am being myself and happy with who I am. Yes, I am going to offend people in the process, but I know one thing: trying to please everyone is a sure-fire way to failure. As a result, I’ve built an amazing base of loyal followers that constantly e-mail me and enjoy my video and blog.
3) Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Even though Arnold is a massive success, he’s had many failures along the way. He’s lost bodybuilding championships, has made some horrible movies, made mistakes as Governor of California, and has even gone through an ugly divorce with Maria Shriver. One thing that he mentions is that none of the success would have been possible for him if he was fearful of failure. It’s because of Arnold’s confidence and belief in himself to take risks that has made him successful.
“You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision and you know that it is the right thing to do, and success will come. So don’t be afraid to fail.”
This used to be a huge block for me in my life, and I can say it is for many of the people that I meet and coach. I used to be a perfectionist, until I realized that perfection is the lowest stand that you can have because it’s impossible to be perfect. Perfection is just a way to beat yourself up and is generally based on a fear of failure. If you’re afraid to fail, then you’ll never take action towards anything in life.
I’ve had many failures in my life. I remember putting on seminars and events and having nobody show up for them. Or spending months creating a product and then promoting it to my mailing list or website, only to have nobody buy it. Months of time, effort, and money gone down the toilet. But I never viewed it that way. I believed that every experience, good or bad, is an asset because I can learn from it. And throughout all my failures, I did learn and have become better as a result. It’s because of my failures that I am successful today.
4) Don’t Listen To The Naysayers
You will have a lot of people that will tell you that it can’t be done or that you can’t do something. You need to ignore them and decide to go after what you want anyways. If you believe them, then you won’t get anywhere in life. You can’t let their limits or beliefs stop you and hinder your mindset in any way.
“As a matter of fact, I love it when someone says that no one has ever done this before, because then when I do it that means that I’m the first one that has done it. So pay no attention to the people that say it can’t be done.”
As mentioned earlier, Arnold received a lot of criticism when he decided to move to America, pursue bodybuilding, become an actor, and run for governor. But he didn’t listen to the naysayers. He had confidence and belief in himself and went after it anyways, proving others wrong in the process.
If you want any amount of success in your life, you need to have the same level of confidence and belief in yourself. Arnold references to visualizing a lot as a secret of his success, as he is constantly visualizing his goal or dream coming to fruition. When you visualize something, your brain believes it is actually happening as it can’t tell the difference between something that is real or imagined. As a result, your brain believes that it’s true and it gives you confidence as you’ve seen yourself be successful again and again. This is a technique that I use often, and is something I’ve learned from the book Psychocynertics by Maxwell Maltz.
5) Work Your Butt Off
To achieve any amount of success in life, you need to work hard. Arnold Schwarzenegger is notorious for his inhuman work ethic. I remember reading in his other books about how he would workout for hours out of the day, work his physical labour brick-laying job, and attend business courses at university all at the same time. He slept only 6 hours a night and worked extremely hard to achieve his success.
“But when you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard. Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that. Now, if you want to coast through life, don’t pay attention to any of those rules. But if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work.”
Reading about how hard Arnold Schwarzenegger works was incredibly inspiring to me. It really showed me what was possible and that in order to be successful you may need to make some sacrifices. I’ve had times during my life where I wasn’t going out for months and was locked away in my apartment building my business. I used to pull all-nighters and work 18 hours a day, sleeping only a mere six. While it was challenging, at the same time, I made the most progress and growth during those times of my life and have no regrets. It’s that killer instinct, that hunger, that really gets you beyond everyone else and can make you a success.
I’ve always figured out that there 24 hours a day. You sleep six hours and have 18 hours left. Now, I know there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute, I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well, then, just sleep faster, I would recommend.
Because you only need to sleep six hours and then you have 18 hours left, and there are a lot of things you can accomplish. As a matter of fact, Ed Turner used to say always, “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.”
6) Give Back
Arnold’s final rule is about giving back. He believes that in any path you take in life, you must always find a way to give back to your community, to your state, or your country. He talks about reaching out to help people bringing immense satisfaction and joy to ones life, more than success itself.
“Let me tell you something, reaching out and helping people will bring you more satisfaction than anything else you have ever done. As a matter of fact today, after having worked for Special Olympics and having started After School Programs, I’ve promoted fitness, and now with my job as governor, I can tell you, playing a game of chess with an eight-year-old kid in an inner city school is far more exciting for me than walking down another red carpet or a movie premiere.”
This is an important rule, as I feel contribution is one of our needs to be truly fulfilled. Most people have a scarcity mindset and are only focused on themselves, not realizing that you’ll never be ultimately happy through focusing on yourself. It’s when you get outside of yourself and make a difference in someone else’s life that your life really has a sense of meaning and fulfillment. The reason why relationships and friendships are so fulfilling is because there is a sense of contribution in them. You need to contribute and give in some way to build a relationship, otherwise you’ll be alone and empty. The more you give, the happier you will feel.
I feel a great sense of fulfillment through my blog, videos and products that I release. I especially feel it when I receive so much positive feedback and love from people on here, in my inbox, on Facebook, and on comments on my videos. It reminds me why I do what I do and motivates me to keep going. It brings a lot of joy and fulfillment in my life that I am able to help others with their lives. It’s my mission and purpose in life.
The Mindset Of A Champion
Schwarzenegger claims that it’s his mindset that has created all of the success in his life. It’s his mind that would allow him to get up early and stay up late, to push beyond failure and his current limitations, and to visualize what he dreamed of and make it happen. I’ve learned that your mind is your most powerful tool in manifesting the life you want.
“I would always ask people, “Why do you want to be a champion?” and people would say, “I want to get more muscular and maybe enter a bodybuilding contest”, and I would say, “Sit down. If you think this way, you’re going to be a loser. There’s no maybe. You have to get up and say ‘I want to be a champion, and I’ll do whatever it takes’”.
Arnold has a “whatever-it-takes” mentality that has helped him succeed. As mentioned earlier, it’s his supreme confidence and determination that has made him who he is. There’s no doubt, if’s, and’s or but’s in his mind. He is completely certain and congruent with what he wants.
Let me ask you, what if you had that same level of thinking with your goals?
What if by this moment forward, your proclaimed that you would do WHATEVER IT TAKES to become successful and achieve your goals?
Failure is not an option for Arnold, and nor should it be for you.
“You can develop hunger by creating a goal for yourself, a short-term goal and a long-term goal, and you must go after it. If you do not see it and believe it, then who else will?”
Arnold Schwarzenegger Resources
As mentioned, I’m a huge Arnold Schwarzenegger fan and have watched all his movies and read many of his books. If you want to learn more about this incredible inspiration and success story, I recommend that you check out some of his books and even films about his life. Below I’ve linked to some resources that are worth checking out, along with some YouTube videos that I enjoy and inspire me.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Inspirational Books & Movies:
Below I’ve listed a few of my favourite Arnold Schwarzenegger books and movies that inspire me and motivate me. I’ve linked them all to Amazon for you to check out.
Thanks for reading this blog post. Hopefully you learned a few important life lessons on how to be successful. If you’re an Arnold fan, I would love to hear what you think by commenting below!